Elections 2013: Steve Thomson calls for investment in economy and environment - InfoNews

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Elections 2013: Steve Thomson calls for investment in economy and environment

Steve Thomson (left) at the unveiling of the Highway 97 6-laning project last month.
April 23, 2013 - 11:57 AM

Steve Thomson: Liberal MLA for Kelowna-Mission

When asked what vision will be driving his campaign in the coming weeks, Thomson says the goal is a government that fosters a strong economy through private sector investment.

“For me the core issues are about ensuring the government is focused on a balanced budget, one of strong fiscal management,” he says.

Thomson says this growth can be achieved while also maintaining the quality of Kelowna's natural environment. Since elected MLA in 2009, Thomson has been working with other leaders on the stewardship of the Okanagan's resources. As Minister of Lands, Forests and Natural Resources, he recently announced a huge swath of crown land to be joined with Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, ensuring its wildlife and ecology will be protected from urban sprawl.

As a long-time Okanagan resident, Thomson says his roots in the Kelowna-Mission riding go deep.

“I was born and raised in Kelowna, my family came here in 1896 and are still farming the original property out on Gordon Drive,” he says. Thomson, now himself a grandfather with five grandchildren, identifies with his family's long heritage in the management of environment.

Over the past few years his constituents have been coming to him with concerns about employment and medical services.

“Key issues we hear about is ensuring jobs and a strong economy, with critical investments to fund health care,” he says. His constituents are particularly interested in the availability of medical services for pain management as well as retinal eye surgery.

If re-elected in May, Thomson will be working on new investments in education. This includes a new middle school for the Upper Mission, which has been identified as a capital priority. Also in the works is a regional partnership to improve water quality and irrigation utilities in the Okanagan, also known as the Integrated Water Supply Plan.

As for increasing urban density in the Mission, Thomson says he's pleased with the growth but adds his constituents expect a transparent process for development. He says the liberal leadership has helped support affordable housing projects, including the Tutt Street housing for single women with low-incomes, the Apple Valley Senior's Housing, and the New Gate Apartments for adults at-risk.

Something you may not know about Thomson? He says he's an ardent rugby fan and hints he might be putting on his boots to play with Kelowna's seniors' rugby team. But over the next few weeks, he says he'll be 100 per cent focused on campaigning for the top priorities in his riding.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at jwhittet@infotelnews.ca or call (250)718-0428.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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